There are few things I used to love more as a kid (and now as a parent… ) than shopping for school supplies. Colored notebooks, folders and pencil cases — oh my! If you get as excited as I do about back-to-school shopping, you’ll love this easy-to-follow checklist outlining the major categories of supplies and the items we suggest.
*These are certainly not all “must-have” items (actually, please don’t, LOL), but rather the kinds of things we just think are great to have for school, as well as for home.
Skip ahead to:
- Classic School Supplies
- Educational Games, Workbooks, Activities & Gadgets
- Organizational Tools for Parents & Kids
- 3 Ring Binders/3-Hole Punch
- Dry Erase Pocket Sleeves
- Colored Pencils
- Glue Sticks
- Pencil Cases
- Hand Sanitizer
Educational Resources for Home
For the preschool and early elementary crowd looking for some fun educational props, we got you! It’s always a great idea to practice skills at home as well as in school.
Letters and Spelling Practice
- To practice writing and letters, we love dry-erase books because we get to do them over and over again… without having to use too much paper. Dry-erase markers are also easy for little fingers to grasp and get the hang of compared to pencils or even crayons.
We particularly love ABC & 123 Practice Wipe-Off Board Books, which have fun games and mazes, Scholastic Learn to Write Dry Erase Books, and Hidden Pictures Wipe-Off Books, which feature puzzles, word tracing and so much more. We also love these Dry Erase Alphabet and Number Flash Cards for practicing upper and lowercase letters and numbers.
- Word puzzles are also a great way for children to practice spelling. With this Melissa & Doug set of wooden boards and letters, children learn to spell 3- and 4-letter words with over 50 pieces of colorful wooden chunky letters and 8 two-sided cut-out boards.
- Want to make it even more fun? Boggle Jr., My First Bananagrams Game, Zingo, and Scrabble Jr. are perfect to help children as young as Kindergartners up their spelling game. Kids won’t even know they’re actually doing “work.”
Activity Books and Cards
- If you want to limit the amount of stuff you have at home, you can opt for activity books that are multi-disciplinary. With this Big Preschool Workbook, your little one can practice tracing, writing, shapes and so much more. Some activity books are more specific, focusing on numbers, letters or tracing — all great for developing motor skills.
- We also love these SmartyPants cards by Melissa & Doug, which offer a variety of questions, puzzles and games for your little ones to learn while having fun. Available for different grade levels.
- The best way to help our kiddos understand math concepts is by making it tangible — think sorting, counting, and grouping. If you have kindergarteners, first- or second-graders at home, manipulatives like this cube set, mathLink builders and an abacus are perfect. For time and clocks, take a look at this Melissa & Doug Educational Wooden Clock.
- You can also make math an entertaining family affair with games like Monopoly Jr. and Shelby’s Snack Shack Game.
Art and Music
These are for everyone! Make sure to stock up on art supplies (I should be planting a tree everyday for how much paper my kids go through in our house…) and whatever musical toys/instruments/players you can.
- Colored Pencils
- Construction Paper
- Heavyweight Paint & Marker Paper
- Watercolor Paints & Brush Set
- Mess-Free Paint Sticks
- Washable Project Paint
- No Spill Paint Cups
- Washable Markers
- Kids Scissors
- Melissa & Doug Cut, Sculpt & Roll Clay Play Set
There’s also this:
- Kid Made Modern has a variety of arts and craft sets that are sure to occupy your little Leonardo DaVinci for hours on end.
- For little musicians in the making, here are some of our favorite instruments: Hape Percussion Instrument, Loog mini acoustic guitar, and the B.toys Musical Instrument Set.
For more inspiration, check out Pinterest for some awesome preschool activities, printables, art projects and more.
If you want to create a study space at home for your child, here are some things that will help set them (and you!) up for success.
A Good Workspace
- Desk Organizers: an organized work station will inspire productivity and focus. We are firm believers in that.
- Rolling cart: a mobile cart makes it easy to store materials for multiple kids and different categories of supplies/gear. It’s also nice to be able to roll out for certain activities and then put away when you’re finished. (Because: messes.)
- Kids locker: such a fun way to bring middle school vibes into the home (hah!). Seriously, an at-home locker is an easy way to make little kids feel SO COOL, and it happens to also be a practical solution for storing school stuff — whether it’s artwork they bring home from school, books, workbook pages or what have you.
Planners & Calendars for Kids
There’s something about having a record of what needs to be accomplished on paper. School planners that let you write down detailed entries for each day are clutch, especially for older kids. And again, can we talk about how satisfying checking things off the list is?! Amazon also has a solid collection of planners for kids.
Organization & Multipurpose Tools
- Whiteboards & Dry Erase Markers: A whiteboard with dry (magnetic) erasers is great to write each day’s schedule or to practice skills like spelling and counting while minimizing paper use. Also great for meal planning!
- Calendar & Multipurpose Whiteboards: these can help your little one keep an eye on the bigger picture for the week or the month. It’s also very satisfying to cross out or erase assignments once they’re done.
- Time management clock: this little guy is a great tool for setting up structure and routine — it’s a lifesaver for getting out the door in the morning, and we love how kids can easily see the passing of time. Alternatively, for younger tots who need a color-coded reminder, you can repurpose your Hatch Rest (or other OK to wake clock) and set it up for various activities (blue for getting ready in the mornings, orange for reading time after school, etc…).
Annnnd that’s all folks! Hope you found something that fits the bill for what you and your family need — and if you have other suggestions for home back-to-school supplies and learning gear, please share in the comments!